A new set of rules are on the horizon for those who operate drones for work, research or just for fun. Transport Canada has announced as of June 1, 2019, some operators of unmanned aircraft vehicles (UAV), will be required to obtain a license and abide by more stringent rules.
For drones that weigh 250 grams and up to 25 kilograms will have to register their craft through Transport Canada, drones that weigh in excess of 25kg will not have to be registered, however, a special flight operations certificate.
The certificate process is also differentiated by basic and advanced operations. For basic operations, drone pilots will have to complete an online exam, whereas advanced operation certificate will also have to undergo a flight review.
Currently the ‘No Drone Zones’ include airports, busy areas where there are bystanders, national parks and border crossings. The new rules have added more specifics to the existing parameters and also added new entries into the ‘No Zone Drone’ list.
As outlined on Transport Canada’s website, the new prohibited UAV fly areas include:
• Airports, heliports an aerodromes – must not fly closer than 5.6 kilometres from any airport in the Canada Flight Supplement, and 1.9 kilometres from heliports or aerodromes used by helicopters only.
• National parks – Drone pilots are not allowed to take off or land within a national park
• Emergency sites – Drone pilots are not allowed to fly within the security perimeter of a police or first responder emergency operation. Staying clear of disaster sites such as forest fires is also prohibited
• Advertised Events – UAV’s are not allowed to fly near or over advertised events such as outdoor concerts and sporting events.
• You must be able to see the drone at all times with the naked eye
• Must be flown under 400 feet in the air
• Must be flown away from bystanders at a minimum distance of 30 meters (basic operations)
Penalties for breaking the rules differ greatly for individuals and corporations. Fines for individuals range from $1000 to $3000, where as corporation’s fines start at $5000 and go up to $15,000 for breaking the rules. For flying a drone without the proper certificate, fines can increase to $25,000 with possible jail time.
Mike Anderson, vice president of the KTown Sky Scrapers, said that he knows many who use drones for good purposes such as located lost cattle or as a simple hobby, however, he said with the recent increase in popularity, there is no doubt people trying to cause trouble with their UAV’s.
If you own or operate a drone, it is best to familiarize yourself with the new rules and regulations before they take effect later this year. Most processes appear to be completed online, for a full description of the current and new rules, visit the Transport Canada website here.